St. Michaels Holy Unity Academy
This is a school located in the heart of Kibera's slum in Nairobi county. The families within this area mostly live under a dollar a day.
School Feeding Program
Global Africa Initiative through Tradestar Kenya Limited provides lunch meals through a monthly feeding program. This has ensured children attend school throughout the year and do not have to miss school due to hunger.
Currently Tradester Kenya Limited donates to the school an average of KES 55,000 for the school feeding program. This is a very noble initiative but difficult to meet at the long run and we proposed a sustainable initiative where the school leases land a plants their own food especially maize and beans which they can use to feed the students and sell surplus.
The school currently purchases 13 bags of dry maize and 2 bags of dry beans of 90Kgs quantity each month. This is however not enough for the whole school to ensure the students especially the young children who solely rely on the food are properly fed.
The school does not have any arable land for farming but initiative Aifrica Foundation is looking into option to lease land and plant on their behalf for the first season then the school to take over the following season once there is a good harvest.
Through this school will adequately feed the under priviledges kids who makeup more than 90% of the pupolation as well as sustain its projects by selling the extra harvest within the community and nearby market.
The Impact of Feeding Program to the school
1. Enrolment at this school is higher than many others throughout Kibera because of the
Feeding Program supported by Tradestar/NTS computer.
2. Overall Improvement in academic performance in the school.
3. Improved children health and nutrient value
4. Reduction on disease associated with lack of balance diet
5. Increased in the numbers of girl children in the school
6. More children are rehabilated due to the provision of food
7. Students have more time to study unlike previously they have to go look for food during
8. Reduce the level of illiteracy in the community since more and more children attend school
9. Reduction in crime rate and other negative activities associated with idleness in the area
10. Give hope to the ones destitute children in the street by giving them education
Challenges of the Program
1. Lack of adequate funds to feed the whole school especially the break fast
2. Lack of adequate funds to offer adequate food for all the students
3. Lack of adequate fund to provide a fully balance diet to the children
4. The Kitchen is always smoking due to worn out chimney
5. The Leaking of the kitchen roofs
6. The increase number of enrolment in the school but no increase of food fund
7. Lack of support from the government in the feeding program in informal settlements
Solar Electrification for the School
The solar systems at Kibera were initially for the aquaponic project. The school is installed with the hydro electric power to light the school and to run other electric components. The implementation of the aquaponic project would mean an extra cost in terms of electricity bill, and the reasons to carry out the project is to reduce cost of purchase of food buy production of vegetables and production of fish meat. Then the aquaponic project should try as much as possible not to incur any cost at the school being in a slum thus the need of solar powered pump to enable circulation of water. The solar panel, battery was installed in the school, it was later realised that the solar battery which runs a Direct current (DC) was fully charged when carried to the storage place.
The Goal of the project
To use solar panel system as alternative means of lighting school in informal settlements and cut down the cost of using hydro electric power.
The objective of the Project
- To use solar energy as alternative means of energy
- To Cut down the cost of Electricity power at the school
- To reduce the interdependence of electric power in the school
- To fully utilize the stored energy in the batteries for lighting in the school
Current status of the project
Currently seven solar lamps have been installed in the school and are all working. Six of the lamps have been installed as security light in the school compound at strategic place. The reason for installation as the security light is that previously the electric lamps were running all night at the school, being in the slums a high crime rate area lighting at night is a necessity. To reduce the cost of electric bill for the security lamps the solar lamps had to be installed, thus substituted the electric security lighting system. According to the school principal the current electricity bills have reduced significantly though he could not give the exact value since the bills keeps in fluctuating.
The one Solar lamp at the class is still working perfectly though not enough light for the whole class but at least one electric lamp is not in use. This was a pilot program to see if the solar lamps will be able to light the classrooms and the results are positive. Two solar lamps will be sufficient for light a whole class according to the school principal.
The solar battery runs for approximately 8- 9 hrs lighting the lamps before becoming dim.
Components of the Solar Systems
The components of the solar system are solar panel (100 watts), Solar Battery (24 Volts), Solar regulator and Solar Pump (DC run Pump). The solar panels tap the solar rays and convert it to DC energy, then its then stored in the battery, the energy stored runs the pump in order to enable adequate circulation of water in the systems. The regulator is used to prevent to much energy stored in the battery that may cause damage to it. Once the battery is full the regulator cuts out connection in charging the battery.
The challenges of the project
The current solar lighting project faces a number of challenges:
1. Portability of the Solar Battery
Currently the solar systems are normally carried to and fro the aquaponic/garden site to the storage site. The battery is about 50kg and usually carried by two people two and fro the garden and the store. Besides being heavy and requires two people to handle, it may cause future accidents eg falling down thus may injure one or both of the carriers.
According this has happened severally especially in the rainy seasons when the ground is slippery, lucky enough no one has been hurt so far possess a great danger to the carriers.
2. Insufficient Class lighting
The security light adequately lighting up the school compound due to the fact they are six. In the class the one lamp is not adequate to light the whole classroom. They are currently using the solar together with the electric lamp. This means that in every class two solar lamps should be installed.
3. Dim lights
During the first 7-8 hours of lighting the lamps are fully bright but there after the light starts to dwindle away. This means the solar battery can support the seven bulbs approximately 8 hours. The dim light is also caused by the intense of the sunlight and the hours that is available on that particular day. During the cloudy and rainy day the battery may not be fully charged thus support the lighting from 5-6 hours
Water Collection and Storage
The school has two 5000 litre water tanks purchased by the government for the school to enable for storage of water. Tradestar Kenya Limited helped in the installation of water gutters to aid in collection of rain water from the roof tops during rain seasons and also paid for installation of municipal water into the other tanks.
Global Africa initiative constructed an aquaporin project which the school will not only use to teach with agriculture classes but also the vegetables and fish from the project will be used to supplement the food they eat for lunch